Dear 100 Hour Board,
We were talking about repentance and procrastination today during Sunday School, and someone mentioned the scripture in Alma 34 (34-35) where Amulek talks about repentance being impossible after this life. I accept that as truth, since it makes perfect sense to me, but I've never really understood why that's the case. Is there something inherent in our physical bodies that makes repentance possible? Or is it possible that I'm just looking into this a little too much? Really, it's just something I've always wondered about.
I'll take a stab at this. I don't think it has anything to do with our physical bodies; it has more to do with our relationship with Christ. It seems to me that if you have a knowledge of the gospel, yet procrastinate the day of your repentance until it is too late, you have chosen to give yourself to the devil (v. 35) and "the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you" (v. 34). Christ does not deal with unclean things, nor would you be inclined to repent when you're in subjection to the devil without any influence of the Spirit.
Another reason having a body does not seem like a requirement for repentance is that it is necessary for those who did not receive the gospel in this life to be able to repent in order to receive the ordinances for the dead done in the temple. Otherwise, we're doing a lot of work for nothing.
Repentance isn't impossible after this life. If that were true there would be no work for the dead. We believe that there is hope for others after this life.
Also, since we do not die perfect, it is a necessity that after we die we can continue to repent so that, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we may become perfect as He has commanded us to be.
Nevertheless and notwithstanding, this is our time to repent. It is our time to draw near, to cleave, unto God. For a man is only promised ONE opportunity to come unto Christ. We are not promised a second. Now, you may say, so the missionaries are only guaranteed to stop by once? No, I do not say that. Only that God, our Father in Heaven, defines what an opportunity is and that is His word. There is great section in the D&C Institute manual on this. Now is the time to repent and come unto Christ and be saved. That is the doctrine.
Alma 34:32-34 deal with people who are hearing the word. Alma and Amulek are teaching the principle of this life and its purpose. They are teaching we need to use our time wisely and not assume that because there is time afterwards (before the resurrection) that we can repent then. This scripture preaches against "death bed" repentance. It's harder to repent in the world to come, not easier.
-Castle in the Sky